Whoever takes a long journey, however he may at his first commencement be tempted to accumulate schemes of convenience and combinations of travelling niceties, will cast them off in the course of his travels as incumbrances; and whoever sets out in life, I believe, with a crowd of relations round him, will, on the same principle, feel disposed to drop one or two of them at every turn, as they hang about and impede his progress, and make his own game single-handed. I speak of Englishmen, whose religion and government inspire rather a spirit of public benevolence, than contract the social affections to a point; and co-operate, besides, to prompt that genius for adventure, and taste of general knowledge, which has small chance to spring up in the inhabitants of a feudal state; where each considers his family as himself, and having derived all the comfort he has ever enjoyed from his relations, resolves to return their favours at the end of a life, which they make happy, in proportion as it is so: and this accounts for the equality required in continental marriages, which are avowedly made here without regard to inclination, as the keeping up a family, not the choice of a companion, is considered as important; while the lady bred up in the same notions, complies with her first duties, and considers the second as infinitely more dispensable.
Nov. 1, 1784.
It was on the twenty-first of last month that we passed from Turin to Monte Casale; and I wondered, as I do still, to see the face of Nature yet without a wrinkle, though the season is so far advanced. Like a Parisian female of forty years old, dressed for court, and stored with such variety of well-arranged allurements, that the men say to each other as she passes.—“Des qu’elle a cessee d’estre jolie, elle n’en devient que plus belle, ce me semble[E].”
[Footnote E: She’s grown handsomer, I think, since she has left off being pretty.]
The prospect from St. Salvadore’s hill derives new beauties from the yellow autumn; and exhibits such glowing proofs of opulence and fertility, as words can with difficulty communicate. The animals, however, do not seem benefited in proportion to the apparent riches of the country: asses, indeed, grow to a considerable size, but the oxen are very small, among pastures that might suffice for Bakewell’s bulls; and these are all little, and almost all white; a colour which gives unfavourable ideas either of strength or duration.
The blanche rose among vegetables scatters a less powerful perfume than the red one; whilst in the mineral kingdom silver holds but the second place to gold, which imbibing the bright hues of its parent-sun, becomes the first and greatest of all metallic productions. One may observe too, that yellow is the earliest colour to salute the rising year, the last to leave it: crocuses, primroses, and cowslips give the first earnest